It’s an undisputed fact that the holiday season is a busy time of year. All the decorating and making merry results in a household chaos that seems to change daily, which begs the question: What does the family dog think of all this?
In my house, as the Christmas tree went up, Daisy exhibited a cautious curiosity. She sniffed at it, sat at my elbow, and took a tilted head stance. Then the ornaments went up, one by one. She sniffed each that she could reach, stuffed her snout down into the bin, rooted around in the tissue paper, and finally gave up on understanding any of my peculiar behavior. She curled up on the couch and watched me with a suspicious glare.
I hung the garland, put Mountain Man Santa on the mantle, artfully arranged giant poinsettias, and popped a Santa hat on the hearth-dwelling bear carving. Regular decorations made way for everything red and sparkly and strewn with twinkle lights—all under the watchful eye of Daisy.
Later, I embarked on a little seasonal crafting—snowman pillows for my grandkids. Because I couldn’t finish it all in one sitting, I thought I’d keep safe the project in progress by forming a barricade behind some strategically placed chairs. I stacked the multi-colored spools of thread, a pin cushion, bits of fabric and jars of buttons in a tidy pile in the center of the dining table and then puzzle wedged some chairs around it like a cage. All this in the effort to be able to go to work and then pick up right where I left off when I got home.
Because Daisy is gifted with no less than three puzzles every time we leave her alone in the house, new things that appear in her space are automatically put in the puzzle category, at least from her perspective. Empty Amazon boxes, for one, and packing materials waiting to be discarded, bathroom trashcans and their contents, reels of Christmas lights awaiting placement—if she can get to it, she calls dibs. She can’t be expected to discern the value between a peanut butter-smeared Kong and a handcarved Victorian Santa, so you can imagine the threat she poses to a house decorated for Christmas. Specifically, my house with my decorations.
This brings me to Tuesday. Dressed and pressed for work, I set up Daisy’s puzzles for the day—tippy things with a few tiny treats inside—grabbed my keys, told her to ‘be good,’ crossed my fingers and left. Silly human. One day, I’ll actually set up cameras to watch it all unfold, but for now, let’s assume there’s a method to her madness. When I arrived back home, weary from the events of the busy workday, this is what I found: a mangled cardboard shipping box with bubble wrap strewn about, two ornaments from the tree chewed in several places, the sparkly confetti contents released onto the floor, and multi-colored spools of thread scattered about the house. I judiciously poured a glass of wine before tackling the clean-up—the most time-consuming of which was the rewinding of the thread. It was looped around furniture and twisted in and out of table legs, tangled in several places. This was the very thread that I barricaded behind chairs on the dining table. The pin cushion was nowhere to be found.
Then came Wednesday. I came home to two more ornaments that had been liberated from the tree and chewed, reduced to sparkly bits of mangled plastic. All pieces accounted for, I stared hard at the pieces of wood on the carpet. They appeared to be small chunks of some forbidden thing, but what? The chunks themselves gave no clues, so I scoured the house. What was missing? Turns out it was an old-fashioned hooded Santa carved by my husband’s grandfather. Irreplaceable, of course. Daisy had to go out of her way to pursue it, as it was placed on a deep windowsill no less than 4 feet off the floor.
Much later that night, we found the pin cushion, or what was left of it. The padded part with the pins was removed from the wooden stand part and left under the coffee table. There were a few pin deposits about—on the guest room ottoman and the corner of the dining room. I would not recommend going barefoot in my house for a while. At bedtime, we found the giant reel of outdoor Christmas lights on the bed. That must have taken some effort. She didn’t chew it, but I’m sure it felt like a great challenge to remove it from the bench by the door and drag it to the bedroom and up on top of the bed.
I picture, of course, our sweet-faced Daisy thrashing her head with gusto, whatever forbidden thing clenched in her mouth, sending it flying and then pouncing after it. It would be especially exciting with Christmas ornaments—confetti flying in all sparkly directions, and the pin cushion too with the added danger of poking her mouth. The thread was likely the most fun, if how much had unwound along the complicated path was any indication.
Daisy, thank God, is none the worse for wear, despite her naughty penchant for destruction, but I wish I could say the same for the Christmas decorations. Of course, they change positions daily to keep out of harm’s way, but it’s beginning to look like a percentage will be lost each year that Daisy is left to her own devises in the house decorated for Christmas. I suppose it’s all part of leaving Daisy home for Christmas.